Princess Diana rang in her 36th birthday on July 1, 1997.
It’s been nearly 25 years since Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997. Around two months before the fatal crash, the 'People's Princess', as she was affectionately known, had celebrated her 36th birthday on July 1. What did she do on her special day? She did what she did best. The Princess of Wales spent her birthday at a fundraising charity gala for London’s Tate Gallery, after receiving a heart-warming call from her youngest son, Prince Harry.
Princess Diana Spent Her Last Birthday Living Up to Her 'People's Princess' Nickname https://t.co/sd5D55E6h5— People (@people) July 1, 2020
Princess Diana’s former chef Darren McGrady told Hello! “Princess Diana didn’t really want to celebrate her birthdays, it meant another year older.” But despite this, he said Diana’s birthday was always a busy day, “not from a culinary aspect but all of her charities and friends sending flowers.”
SCMP reports that Tina Brown’s 2007 biography The Diana Chronicles, noted that at least 90 bouquets of flowers were sent to Kensington Palace that year. The princess received a special call from a special young man too. Harry was 12 years old and attending boarding school at Ludgrove. He reportedly called his mother on the telephone that day and got a group of his school friends to sing Happy Birthday over the phone.
There are many pictures of them together but this is one of my favourites pic.twitter.com/CrA59pMvRI— Myra (@SussexPrincess) June 28, 2022
Later, a gala was held in her honor at the Tate Gallery's Centenary in London. The princess made her way through the gala and greeted the crowds of well-wishers, who bombarded her with cards, flowers, balloons and other presents. She was dressed in a beaded black gown by Jacques Azagur, according to PEOPLE. She paired the iconic gown with an emerald and diamond choker.
What stood out that night was not only the fact that she looked absolutely breathtaking (like she always did) but how she connected with people like no other celebrity could. "Diana had a genius for people," her younger brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, previously told the outlet. "She could make any person, whether they were the grandest or the most humble feel totally at ease in her company."
He also recalled the last time he saw his sister at Princess Diana’s funeral, when he said, “The last time I saw Diana was on July 1, her birthday in London, when typically she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a special charity fundraising evening. She sparkled, of course.” And even today, her light continues to shine on.
July 1, 1997: Princess Diana on her 36th and last birthday attends the centenary soiree for The Tate Gallery in London pic.twitter.com/YE6KXAlToR— ALL PRINCESS DIANA (@princessdibooks) July 1, 2018
Cover image source: Getty Images | Princess Diana Archive